According to the Daily Mississippian, members of the University of Mississippi football team disrupted a campus production of the Laramie Project and shouted “fag” during the show.
Cast members of the play, which is about an openly gay male who was murdered in Laramie County in Wyoming, said members of the audience became so disruptive at times that they struggled completing the play. According to the play’s director and theater faculty member Rory Ledbetter, some audience members used derogatory slurs like “fag” and heckled both cast members and the characters they were portraying for their body types and sexual orientations. Ledbetter said the audience’s reactions included “borderline hate speech.” “I am the only gay person on the cast,” junior theater major Garrison Gibbons said. “I played a gay character in the show, and to be ridiculed like that was something that really made me realize that some people at Ole Miss and in Mississippi still can’t accept me for who I am.”
The players are reportedly enrolled in a freshman-level theater course that requires attending a number of school plays during the term. The school’s athletics department has acknowledged the incident and emailed an apology to the head of the theater department, but no disciplinary action has yet been announced.